Animal Species:Blue Shark, Prionace glauca (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Blue Shark is the most wide-ranging shark species, being recorded in all tropical and temperate seas. Adult Blue Sharks eat mainly fish and cephalopods such as squid.

Standard Common Name

Blue Shark

Alternative Name/s

Blue Whaler, Blue Whaler Shark, Great Blue, Great Blue Shark


The Blue Shark has a conical snout, a circular eye, and a long pectoral fin.The Blue Shark is recognised by its distinctively coloured slender body with a conical snout, and long, scythe-like pectoral fins. It has five gill slits, a heterocercal tail, large circular eyes and a first dorsal fin that is much larger than the second.

The species is sometimes confused with the Shortfin Mako Shark. The Blue Shark however has smaller gill slits, longer pectoral fins and serrated teeth.

Size range

The species grows to around 3.8 m in length.


It is the most wide-ranging shark species, being recorded in all tropical and temperate seas, from 50 degrees north to 40 degrees south.  In Australia it is recorded from all marine waters except the Arafura Sea, Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Prionace glauca


The Blue Shark is usually found in water of 12 degrees C to 20 degrees C, and is recorded from the surface to a depth of 350 m.

Feeding and Diet

Adult Blue Sharks eat mainly fish and cephalopods such as squid.

Life cycle

Baby Blue Sharks are nourished via a yolk sac placenta, and are born at a length between 35 cm ad 50 cm.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Stevens, J.D. in Gomon, M.F, C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  6. Stevens, J.D. (Ed.) 1987. Sharks. Golden Press. Pp. 240.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags ichthyology, Blue Shark, Prionace glauca, Carcharhinidae, fishes, most wide-ranging species, tropical, temperate water, tropical water, Blue Whaler, Blue Whaler Sherk, Blue Whaler Shark, Great Blue, Great Blue Shark, conical snout, circular eye, long pectoral fin, slender body, five gill slits, > 2m, adult, marine,


Mark McGrouther - 9.06 AM, 24 June 2009
You are quite correct. The Blue Shark is a very streamlined fish. Its conical snout, large tail and long pectoral fins all add up to it being a fast swimming predator. I agree that the Blue Shark really is a beautiful fish.
peppercorn - 5.06 PM, 23 June 2009
These strange ancient predators of the sea are shaped like an airplane sleek and slender in design but deadly and quick at the same time when slicing through the sea like knife in movement.Despite this they are not chubby and big like their bigger brothers of the foodchain in the ocean the great white shark which has grey and white bland markings on the side of its body for camouflage inside the sea please write a written response serena marinucci

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